I know that packaging can be frustrating. Some packaging can be challenging to open while other forms of packaging might be inconveniently heavy. At the same time, the packaging is always going to be a necessity. For this reason, I was surprised to hear that packaging-free stores are starting to become more common.
When I first heard about this development, I thought it was a good idea. Customers and stores can reduce their carbon footprint by getting rid of the packaging. Therefore, this could be seen as a way to protect the environment. Then, when I thought about it, I realized there are too many hurdles to packaging-free stores becoming widespread.
Some Items Will Always Require Packaging
Every time I go to the store, I see items that are impossible to sell without packaging. It simply isn’t compatible with every item being sold by stores. For better or for worse, many of these items are staples in the lives of individuals and families.
A few examples of items that will always require packaging include:
- Frozen meals that have become cornerstones in the lives of many
- Foods that come wrapped single-servings for convenience purposes
- Potentially fragile items that are wrapped for safety purposes
Even if I were to buy food in bulk and then divide it into smaller servings once I got home, I would just be repackaging it myself. Therefore, those who aren’t environmentally-conscious are going to be hesitant to embrace removing all packaging.
Going Without Packaging Is Inconvenient
Next, the whole idea of removing packaging is to cater to those who are thinking about the environment. Even though I believe this is important, not everyone is going to agree. Those who don’t are going to find this impractical.
Take, for example, breakfast cereal. It already comes in a box. That box is designed for its transport; however, what if breakfast cereal was dispensed directly at the store from a spout? Sure, I could buy it by the ounce, but how am I going to get it home without a package?
In addition, customers who shop at stores that don’t provide packaging tend to buy their foods in smaller portions. Sadly, this also results in more trips to the store. This costs more in terms of time and money. This is another example of the inconvenience factor at work.
If customers buy more with each trip, packaging becomes more attractive. If customers buy smaller portions, this means more trips to the store. Clearly, this cuts both ways.
Avoiding Packaging Will Increase Food Waste
I know that many people think that packaging is wasteful. This is one of the biggest reasons why people want to get rid of the packaging. At the same time, getting rid of packaging will actually create more food waste.
There are a few reasons why. These include:
- Some fruits and vegetables are going to spoil more quickly when they aren’t wrapped
- As these fruits and vegetables spoil, they might also cause other items around them to spoil more quickly
- Beef will also spoil more quickly when they aren’t wrapped
If food is going to spoil more quickly without packaging, this will lead to more food waste. If I have to bring my own wraps to the store in order to preserve my food, this defeats the entire purpose of going without packaging. Without packaging, more food will be wasted.
Dangerous For People With Allergies
I know many people who have food allergies. Some of the most common allergies my friends and family members have to include:
- Tree nuts
Some of my friends and relatives have more serious allergies than others. While some people don’t develop an allergic reaction unless they ingest the food, others will suffer a reaction if they even smell these foods at all.
If these foods go unwrapped in grocery stores, someone might have an allergic reaction. It is easy to see how this can pose a serious health risk.
Also, when packaged using Asbestos materials, then it will affect a majority of people with Mesothelioma cancer. So one good thing about not doing packaging with such materials is good for all. There are even companies that provide Asbestos training to take care of such environmental hazards.
It Is Harder To Sell Without Packaging
There is always going to be a market for a store that markets itself as “green.” On the other hand, those who care enough about the environment to get rid of the packaging on their food are a decisive minority. I know many people who would balk at the idea of transporting their meat and dairy items without packaging.
Furthermore, many state laws are in place across the country that requires packaging. This only creates another hurdle to allowing the spread of these stores.
The Environment Still Matters
The whole idea behind getting rid of packaging is to become more eco-friendly. Fortunately, there are other ways to do so. In the end, it is possible to care about the environment and still have packaging. This is why packaging-free stores are never going to become widespread.